J.D. Power Auto Summit: Hyundai’s evolving sales strategy

While he didn’t disclose specific plans, Parker believes Amazon’s platform can do so much more that shoppers may be able to click on a model and buy it. I think this is a great opportunity to sell the car,” he said.

“The deal is still done at the dealer,” he added.

Hyundai is gearing up for growth in the U.S. market, including selling electric vehicles, Parker said.

He said 70% of Hyundai’s 800 dealerships are in the store construction stage, which includes adding 2,000 service bays.

Hyundai officials have made no secret of their frustration with a rule included in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act exempting all of the brand’s EVs from the $7,500 federal tax credit. Regulations require EVs to be built in North America to receive credit, and Hyundai’s EVs are now all built in South Korea.

But a loophole in the regulation allows at least cars designated as “commercial” to receive the tax credit, paying $7,500 to automakers or their financial departments. A loophole could unlock more EV leases.

“Better than nothing,” Parker said of the loophole. “This is an opportunity and we will take it. We will play the deck of cards we are dealt.”

Parker said Hyundai’s $5.5 billion EV plant under construction near Savannah, Georgia, is expected to start producing cars in 2025. Once this pipeline opens, a large new source of Hyundai products will meet federal tax credit requirements.

But Parker said the industry faces a difficult year in 2023, despite the good news that auto production levels are recovering and dealer inventories are being replenished.

Hyundai’s dealer inventory dropped to just 15,000 last year, down from 150,000 the year before.

The company has decided to shift all its operations to retail and has zero fleet sales until conditions improve.

Parker said Hyundai resumed a small share of fleet sales late last year.

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